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Heacham and Snettisham beach project sees 36 chicks take to the skies





The RSPB-led project ‘Plovers in Peril’ has seen 36 chicks take to the skies from Heacham and Snettisham beaches this season – almost double last year’s total of 19.

The project, which aims to halt the decline in breeding numbers of the beach-nesting ringed plover and oystercatcher, was delivered in partnership with Snettisham's Wild Ken Hill.

The team of staff and volunteers working on the project have thanked beach visitors for keeping dogs on leads and staying a safe distance from fenced-off nesting areas during their most vulnerable time of year.

Ringed plover with chick. Photo: Phill Gwilliam (RSPB Images)
Ringed plover with chick. Photo: Phill Gwilliam (RSPB Images)

Funding from West Norfolk Council will enable the project to continue protecting the vulnerable birds on these two busy beaches for another five years.

Cllr Paul Kunes, cabinet member for environment, said: “The work undertaken by the RSPB in Snettisham and Heacham, led by enthusiastic project officer Wynona Legg has protected many vulnerable birds. I’m pleased the borough council can support this.”

The birds who nest on the sand during summer are one of the iconic features of the West Norfolk coast, and these charismatic birds are remarkably tenacious, trying again and again when their eggs or chicks are lost.

Wynona said: “We have received so many offers of help from people within our communities, moved by the plight of these birds living on their doorstep, that our volunteer team is always growing.

"These people are showing up for these birds every day of the week, rain or shine, to chat with visitors, explain restrictions and build support for these birds in hope of securing them a brighter future. It is truly inspiring.”

Snettisham Beach Sailing Club has also supported the project, saying: "We are passionate about working closely with the RSPB to help protect the nesting birds here.

"Our junior sailors and families have enjoyed a tour of the nesting sites, seeing first-hand the impact we have on their survival and with this knowledge they have helped to design thank you signs to be displayed outside the sailing club.

"Building links through educating our next generation is paramount and we look forward to continue working with the RSPB."

Wild Ken Hill project manager Dominic Buscall added: "I’d also like to thank residents and visitors for their help conserving these wonderful beach-nesting birds. By continuing to work together, we can ensure a better future for these species.

"While there is still a lot to do to ensure beach nesting birds have a future here, the success of this season brings hope for these iconic birds who love Snettisham and Heacham just as much as we do."



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